From biting, hitting, throwing, not listening, yelling in your face, crying at nothing to throwing themselves on the floor in a crumpled, hysterical mess. The ‘terrible twos’ can be a very trying time for any parent.
My eldest is 2 in 21 days, but I can say the attitude is and has been very real for quite a few months already.
So here are a couple of things I’ve tried and am trying to do to help combat as much as I can, this behavior.
– Counting –
I count to 3. Milena knows what it means, she usually stops what she’s doing with little drama.
– The Chair (Time out) –
We have a little chair that is in our lounge, but in a part of the room that is away from toys and out of view of the TV. This is used for more unacceptable things, like biting or doing something that she has been repeatedly told not to or I’ve counted to 3 and nothing has changed, if I do this I will say something like ‘If you don’t stop that you’re going on your chair, 1…2…3’. She is put on the chair for two minutes, one minute for each year of age. Once this time is up she is taken off and told why, in a calm, simple way, why she was put on there. I ask for a sorry and then give her a hug. This works a treat. At this point anyway. If we are out somewhere I will find where that would be suitable. I think it’s important to be consistent with this so they don’t think they can get away with this behavior if they aren’t at home.
– Pick your battle-
Honestly some things are just not worth making a big deal out of. I’ve defiantly found that by my words/actions I can escalade something that was reasonably small into a full blown battle of wills. So by this I have been more careful of what I feel is worth the fight. I question myself is this really wrong or naughty? Or is it just something that is annoying or irritating to me?
– Be aware of triggers –
Every child will have triggers. Some that are very similar to others and some that are individual to that child. For Milena (and most children and adults alike) If she is hungry or tired she will get irritated and fly off the handle rather rapidly. So if this is the reason/s instead of getting angry or annoyed I will rectify this first if possible. On a perfect day this shouldn’t be a reason. Keeping consistent with naps and meal times while not always possible will void this issue for us. Other triggers could be, I had something on the bench the other day that Milena kept going for, I had said 3 times to not touch it to no avail, so instead I just removed it, therefore removing a trigger.
I’ve recently found myself saying NO! a lot. This doesn’t really help anyone. She doesn’t know why, she wants to do it more because she’s been told she can’t and it doesn’t end up meaning anything other than background noise if it’s said too much. This is something I need to work on, not her.
I know this age is such a developmental stage and it’s all about testing boundaries, learning consequences, growing both mentally and emotionally. There needs to be leeway to account for this and I’m not going to stop her from doing things. But I defiantly feel that by putting firm guidelines in at a young age will help later on.
Remaining calm and being consistent is key.
This is only my opinion and my way of doing things. We will all have different ways and things that will work better than others.
If it works for you and your family that’s all that matters.